By Wesley Ngwenya
The thinking and actions of Rupiah Banda and his buddies never seem to amaze me. It is reported that they have purchased one hundred hearses from China at a cost of about thirty thousand dollars each. Wow! Now, that is a lot of money to be spent on trying to bury us.
It is interesting that government will spend enormous amounts of money to send people to the grave instead of spending the money to save the lives of many Zambians. It is after all our culture to spend a lot of money on funerals. Even though the deceased’s life could have been saved by providing food or money, we go ahead and spend lots of money at his or her funeral. We buy expensive food for the mourners. We buy expensive clothing for the deceased. Why spend so much money on the dead instead of spending it on the living? That is exactly what our current government is doing.
This government has, unfortunately, turned out to be “briefcase businessmen”. Men and women who move around doing business in their briefcases buying and selling whatever they can make money on. Even briefcase businessmen have morals. They will not deal in businesses that will compromise their integrity. They will choose their business partners carefully so that they can have repeat business.
It is quite disheartening that Banda and his buddies will go ahead and spend such amounts of money on these moving tombs. What is the rationale behind all this? Could it be that the government has foresight that the economic meltdown is too much for us Zambians and expect many of us to head to the grave much sooner than later? Or is it that Banda and his buddies will give a tender to any company that comes up with an “ingenious idea” for them to make some personal money? As always, they have been able to secretly do this without parliament approval.
Now, it is very sad when you have a government that disregards its legislature. There is need to have a system in government to procuring such purchases. If there is an existing system, then this system needs to be respected and followed. Government needs parliament’s support to effectively implement its policies. However, Rupiah’s government is determined to do things their way whether it’s legal or not. Not too long ago they wanted to purchase costly mobile hospitals and before that it was RP Capital. And all they could say was that they were approached by the companies to provide the services. Really! Just because someone walks in your office to sell you something does not entail you purchasing their product or service. Why not be proactive for once and look at what our country needs and then go about acquiring those services that we need?
Zambian hospitals are filled with old and outdated equipment and yet the government goes ahead and buys one hundred hearses. I am not even sure we have one hundred government ambulances here in Zambia. I have personally seen someone die simply because there was no transport to take that person to the hospital. If this government is serious about saving our lives why not improve the well being of our existing clinics and hospitals. Just like you guys, we are also interested in living. We know how to get to the graveyard and do not need your help going there. Just because you have given up on managing the country does not mean we should also give up on living.
As long as the Banda buddies are going to hang out and wait for the Chinese to do the thinking for them we are bound to see the worst yet to come. The Chinese are eager to make quick money out of our sleeping government. I wonder what they will sell us next—snow mobiles, skiing equipment, or expensive mortuary equipment? They will sell us anything because our government will buy. Just wait and see.